As software testers, it’s easy to think of ourselves as arbiters of quality, well, since we check applications built by software development teams based on customer needs. Most of us are trained to see if the product under test meets system requirements. We test and look for irregularities and defects, and being good at that makes us feel significant because, after all, we think that we improved the quality of the software through our testing. We might have prevented embarrassing situations for our employers or minimized costs, all good reasons to feel awesome about our work. Given enough time, we’ll eventually know a lot about the application we are testing, its underlying rules, as well as the business it’s running on. And with plenty of experience, it is not difficult to feel like an authority about the software that we continuously keep track of.
But we are not gatekeepers.
We look for inconsistencies and report what we notice in order to have discussions around them. Whether they becomes problems that require solutions do not depend on us but on what our customers say about our findings.
We test, take notes, and create stories of all the interesting stuff that we find, but it is not part of our work to order people around just because we think we found bugs.
We let our employers know about existing health of applications and the risks of delivering new features to loyal customers, but we never control their decisions. They can release projects in the wild anytime they decide to.
We understand that we can never control software quality unless we ourselves take part in changing underlying code. But doing so means taking off our software testing hats.
We describe the existing system according to how we see it, honestly, as accurate as we possibly can. We do not directly influence the quality of products, but we can certainly help the software development teams be confident about their projects with our testing, in turn serving our customers well in the process.
We are not the authority about software quality, because the whole team is responsible for baking the quality into the product at every project phase.
We are not gatekeepers, because there’s so much more to software testing than becoming one.